Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our trip to Desolation Sound

This July, we had a great cruise from Nanaimo to Desolation Sound and back. We did not make any blog entries because the only place we had access to Wifi was at Secret Cove. So here is a very brief summary.

We crossed the Straight of Georgia on July 11. The wind was fairly light - we figure about 10 knots - and our trip was uneventful. We tied up at the Secret Cove Marina and spent several days in Secret Cove visiting family. We had an afternoon swim in Smugglers Cove and also walked the Smugglers Cove Trail.

On Thursday, July 15 we left Secret Cove early in the morning and set out for Lund. Our middle grandson, who is almost 11, came with us. It was quite windy on the way north, probably at least 15 knots and SKOL ploughed through the water. The waves were at leat a metre high and some were bigger. Up we would go and then down into a hole. SKOL handled it well and our grandson did not complain. By the time we got to Powell River, the weather had settled down a bit so we carried on to Lund.

Lund was great fun! We went out to dinner, walked around the village, and shopped for presents and useful things. We were tied up to a prawn boat at the government dock and we bounced like crazy all night. A highlight of the cruise was watching the first half of Avatar on Mike's computer. What with the moon rising and all the bouncing, it was 4D!

The next day we ran up to Squirrel Cove. Our poor grandson was stung by a wasp and the water was too cold to swim. But it was very pretty and peaceful there. We tried to watch the second half of Avatar but ran out of battery power on everything (two computers and the house battery) just before the end. Our grandson's ipod had also died and there was no way to charge it. However, the cell phone worked so we were able to call home and report everything that had happened. The fact that batteries have such a short life makes me wonder how ebooks will ever catch on.

On July 17, we motored over to Tenedos Bay in the Desolation Sound Marine Park. We charged all the batteries on the way - so were technically ready for everything. Our grandson took a turn at steering the boat though the islands - his first time. Our only minor misadventure was that he fell off the boat while we were stern-tieing to shore. However, the water was warm so we turned it into a swim. In the afternoon we took the dinghy to the end of the cove and walked up the trail to Unwin Lake where we had another lovely freshwater swim.

On July 18, we motored through the islands to Melanie Cove in Prideaux Haven. Again the water was warm and we enjoyed swimming and walking the trail to Laura Cove. In Laura Cove, our grandson went swimming in the warm shallow water. He cut his knee on an oyster shell - but no other disasters to report that day. He is great fan of the Beatles and happily entertained himself by reading his book on the stories behind all Beatles' songs and drawing tons of pictures of the Beatles whenever the trip got boring.

The next day it was time to return to Powell River. The winds were light and we motored along uneventfully. We dropped into the Powell River Public Library and borrowed an enormous book on the Beatles! We could do this because BC has the One Card program which allows anyone with a public library card in any public library to borrow books from any other library. Since we had shore-power that night we were able to watch the last 2 minutes of Avatar. Great movie! We also had a yummy Thai dinner at the nearby restaurant and watched two lectures on some of the medieval art at the National Gallery in London. Again - with moon shining it was truly 4D. Our grandson and his family are going to London in August and we are going in September - so we wer are all excited about visiting the National Gallery with its fabulous collection of European art.

July 20 and we were back in Secret Cove. Our grandson was happy to see his foks and we had a nice afternoon visiting.

The next day we motored over Jedediah Island - another beautiful wilderness marine park between Texada Island and Lasquiti Island. We anchored at Codfish Bay and walked around the park for hours. That night the wind really came up and blew up to 35 knots!

We decided to stay another day since the wind continued to blow. Mike has been studying weather and says it is a diurnal wind pattern. There is a huge high off the coast causing it. The usual summer pattern of windy afternoons and calm mornings and evenings is turned around and it blows anytime. We climbed Mount Gibralter and at lunch a Long Cove. We saw the wild sheep left by the Spanish explorers. While we were away on our walk, the wind blew SKOL very near the rocks and two other boats in the bay pulled her off and reset out stern anchor. This was a little disconcerting! One of the highlights of Codfish Bay was an osprey who sat in the fir trees near the boat and plummeted down to catch small fish in the cove.

On July 23, we motored from Jedediah to Schooner Cove on Vancouver Island. It was pretty windy again - we estimate about 15 knots. But this time, the wind was on our side and on the stern. SKOL handled it well - but I prefer light winds and smooth water! Rather than stopping at Schooner cove, we headed down to Nanaimo.

We began the evening, planning to anchor at Newcastle Island. We found a good protected spot facing into the NW wind. But - we soon realized it was Bathtub Weekend. More and more boats came out to anchor in Mark Bay. The party was in full flight on a boat on the other side of the bay. Lots of yelling, loud music and shooting off flares! A bathtub kept zipping around. There were dinghies coming and going, brave kayakers and Canada geese maneuvering around, and the little "pickle boat" kept zipping back and forth between Nanaimo and Newcastle Island bringing more and more campers to walk-in campsites. Around 9 o'clock the wind turned to the SE and suddenly the boats were all in a mess. An enormous powerboat anchored nearby moved back an forth, occasionally looming over us. He should have moved since we were there first - but he was bigger and he didn't. At 11 pm, we decided to go home to birth at yacht club. We carefully motored through the anchorage in the moonlight to F14 and went home for a well-deserved shower!

So that was the end of our cruise to Desolation Sound!

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